Written by Breanna Readhead

Newsspeakers in the Newsroom was a cross-campus event featuring current and recently graduated Newsspeak members, who shared their experiences of transitioning from the classroom into the newsroom. Students from Curtin, Edith Cowan, Murdoch and Notre Dame universities attended.

Four Curtin University students were featured on the panel: Kenith Png, Amelia Searson and Tabarak Al Jrood who were working at the ABC; as well as Indiana Lysaght, who’d worked for a year at the Kalgoorlie Miner and had returned to complete a master’s degree in environmental science.

ECU’s Brianna Melville moderated the panel which discussed various topics, including the challenges of the industry and the difficulties of transitioning from university life.

The pathway from university studies to the journalism profession is both fulfilling and challenging with students taking many different routes to get there. Photo: Cameron Short.

Ms Searson gave an incredibly heartfelt and vulnerable response, opening up about her personal experiences with imposter syndrome.

“I definitely felt like I didn’t deserve to be there. I just felt like I was out of my depth, like everyone else deserves to be here more than I do. Why am I here?” she said.

She explained how being a woman magnified her feelings of self-doubt, but encouraged female students not to be disheartened.

“I think that’s quite common, especially with women, feeling like you don’t deserve something; but I got a lot of support from my tutors, and getting it from my peers and my friends… That was also really helpful,” she said.

Ms Al Jrood assured the newsroom is an understanding environment, as everyone there had experienced similar feelings before. However, she urged students to never become complacent after starting in a professional workplace.

“They know you’re learning, and that you have to start somewhere. I’ve been there for a year and a half and I’m still learning things,” she said.

“I’m still putting in the same amount of effort as I did in day one because you’re not always going to have that job. You can’t be complacent and think ‘I’ve got it, that’s it, I don’t need to try as hard’.

“Every story matters, every story counts, and you need to put in the same amount of effort into everything you do.”

Ms Lysaght reiterated the significance of believing in yourself, and being persistent when things get tough.

“Sometimes the conversations you have with people are going to be tough, but you have to remember you’re going in there with the intention of the greater good,” she said.

“You’re holding them to account and reporting on tough issues to let people know what’s happening.”

Journalism is still a learning journey, even after graduation. Photo: Cameron Short.

Mr Png reminded the audience that, despite not currently working in a professional setting, student journalists can still tell compelling, worthwhile stories.

“It’s important to remember the people you’re talking to are people. You’re not talking to them for work. It’s a privilege to get to talk to people and tell their stories,” he said.

“You don’t have to wait until you’re in a newsroom to be doing that as a student journalist. It doesn’t have to be something you’re doing at work. It can be something you’re doing right now.”

Staff and students from Murdoch, ECU and Curtin were among those in the crowd. Photo: Cameron Short.

Students praised the evening, saying it was an enriching experience and that it was comforting to learn from peers.

“Especially since I don’t know what I’m going to be doing at the end of my degree… Coming here and hearing more experienced journalism students who were in the same position as me share their stories was a lot more comforting,” Daniel Hocking said.

“It was really nice to hear that, despite the imposter syndrome, or despite being thrown in the deep end, that it’s just one foot in front of the other. And all the other journalists in the newsroom have been in your position,” Ashleigh Davis added.

“It was very comforting to find out you’re not completely useless.”